Eastern Mediterranean University released a statement on the occasion of 3 December International Day of Persons with Disabilities. On behalf of the Faculty, academic staff member, Pediatric Health and Diseases Expert Dr. Umut Altunç provided information on the problems encountered by persons with disabilities and relevant work on overcoming problems as such. Dr. Altunç’s statement reads as follows:
The term disabled is used for persons who encounter physical, mental and structural limitations in performing their daily activities! Covering a wide spectrum, the term includes individuals at all ages including spastic children, children with mental disabilities, learning disabilities, hearing or visual impairment, persons with autism or innate genetic disabilities, and so forth.
A Billion Disabled Persons on Earth!
According to the 2017 report of the World Health Organisation, currently there are around 1 billion disabled persons worldwide. Most of these people live in poor or less developed countries where proper health services are not available. With the increasing incidences of traffic accidents, chronic and epidemic diseases, insufficient pre and post natal health services, population increase, terrorism and violence, the number of disabled persons will undoubtedly increase day by day!
Being a Disabled Person in the TRNC!
According to the World Health Organisation, one in every 7 persons have some sort of disability. However, data on the number of disabled persons, their proper diagnosis and possible causes for their disability is not available in Northern Cyprus. Disabled persons encounter many problems in different dimensions of life. Unfortunately, social possibilities and facilities essential for disabled persons are far below the European standards in our country.
Developed Countries Overcome Barriers!
In developed regions like Europe and the USA, serious efforts have been put towards the treatment and rehabilitation of the disabled. For the proper integration of disabled individuals into the society, opportunities for free and special education are provided. For example, if you are a parent of an autistic child residing in the United Kingdom, Social Aid Organisations visit you at home and guide you towards a special education institution according to your child’s disability and needs. In places where the state facilities are not available, private social aid organisations provide special services.
In countries as such, in line with the relevant laws and standards, all means are regulated in such a way that they serve towards the welfare of the disabled.
Academic and Social Projects of Dr Fazıl Küçük Medicine Faculty
Having conducted extensive research on “Autism” as one of the most frequently encountered developmental disorders at the childhood stage, our faculty has reached the findings demonstrating the environmental reasons for autism in the TRNC. This year, we are conducting research on “Newborn Infections” causing disabilities at birth. We will soon share our research findings with public and submit a report to the Ministry of Health regarding the recommended measures in avoiding such unwanted situations.
Our university and faculty provide services in a disability friendly environment. As the only medicine faculty operating under a state university in the TRNC, we will work hard towards increasing the social achievements of the disabled individuals, and contributing to the state health policies regarding the early diagnosis, advanced examination and special education possibilities of and for the disabled.
We should all be aware that contributing to the welfare of the disabled individuals in our environment is our collective responsibility.